Eugenics Essay, Research Paper
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” The Civil War was fought to save the republic and free the enslaved. World War II was fought to save the world and stop a group which thought they were a superior race. What do these two wars have in common? They were fought, in part, for equality. The difference or believed difference between people causes tension and discrimination. Genetic engineering will cause a new form of differences between people and will cause an infinite amount of damage. Along with the potential damage, genetic engineering is morally and religiously wrong.
Although genetic engineering has not been fully developed, we have come a long way and are now very close. The Human Genome project has almost mapped every one of a human’s chromosomes. Doctors can now tell you if you have or if your child will inherit a certain disease.
But first what are genes? Genes are often described as ‘blueprints’ or ‘computer programs’ for our bodies and all living organisms. Genes are specific sequences of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) that are used in the production of proteins. They are a single factor among many. “They provide the ‘list of ingredients’ which is then organized by the ‘dynamical system’ of the organism.” That ‘dynamical system’ determines how the organism is going to develop. A recipe of ingredients alone does not create a dish of food.
…a gene is not an easily identifiable and tangible object. It is not only the DNA sequence which determines its functions in the organisms, but also its location in a specific chromosomal, cellular, physiological and evolutionary context. It is therefore difficult to predict the impact of genetic material transfer on the functioning of the extremely tightly controlled, integrated and balanced functioning of all the tens of thousands of structures and processes that make up the body of any complex organism (Vanaja,24.)
Therefore, genetic engineering, also known as eugenics, refers to the artificial modification of the genetic code of a living organism. Genetic engineering changes the fundamental physical nature of the organism, sometimes in ways that would never occur in nature.
Genetic engineering is religiously wrong. To the majority of the United States that is Christian, genetic engineering would pose a serious problem. In the Bible it states, “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him: male and female He created them.”(Genesis, 1-27) Notice, it says that “God created man in His own image…” It does not say man was created in his parents image. For a religious person, the choice is left to the superior being they believe in. It is not right for us to create another person to fit our wants and needs. Not only would you be taking the role of the superior being (if you believe in a superior being) or Mother Nature, but you would also be deciding your child’s destiny. So, to the population of the world that is religious or believes in destiny, genetic engineering would be making decisions that should not be made by another human. A genetically engineered child would stand as a symbol that defies any religion practiced. This child would be a symbol for man being more powerful than God, Jesus, Alla, Buddha, Mother Nature, and Destiny.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”(Jefferson,1). Genetically engineering a person would make the Declaration of Independence meaningless. When this document was written the creators assumed everyone was created with the same chance to be someone great and healthy, hence everyone is created equal. However, once people have the chance to genetically enhance their child, people will no longer be created equal. Society will crumble due to the instant fall of the basic beliefs on which this country was built. Also, depression will become wide spread, because if you were not modified during birth, than you will have no chance to succeed.
Today we hear so much about insurance companies in the news, on the radio, and in the newspaper. But what would happen if genetic testing and modifications were legal? Insurance companies make money by insuring people and things for events or accidents that never happen. For example, if you paid to have your car insured in the case of theft, and the car was never stolen, then the amount you paid is pure profit for that insurance company. If this is the case, then why would insurance companies insure a person that has been genetically tested and is known to be a likely candidate for lung cancer? They wouldn’t. A “study showed that about two-hundred and fifty employees in a medium-sized hospital had access to medical records-a number that makes inadvertent disclosure of private information seem likely.”(Wheeler,325). Insurance companies make money off unlikely events, therefore they would not insure something that is likely to happen. The result would be the insurance companies only insuring those who are known to be unlikely candidates for serious diseases or have been genetically modified. Thus supporting discrimination.
When filling out a job application what do you notice? In bold print, “We are an equal opportunity employer.” So much is done these days to fight discrimination. Eugenics would open the gates for a new and greater type of discrimination. It is probable that people would care less if you are white or black, now they would just care if you are modified or not. In the movie Gattaca, the main character is not accepted by a preschool because he was not genetically modified. The principal shuts the gate to the school as she says, “I’m sorry we can’t, what if he falls or something?” In other words, since the child is not modified he is too much of a liability. Discrimination has and always will be a part of our world. However, it never becomes a significant problem until the discrimination is concentrated between two groups. In other words, the concentration of discrimination is spread over many groups. But if there were only two groups a violent dispute would be inevitable. Also, if two groups develop, who will stop the upper group from gaining complete control?
Discrimination does not only occur due to physical or genetic differences. It also occurs due to the difference in wealth. The gap between the rich and poor will only increase with the development of genetic engineering. Let us pretend genetic engineering became available at the exact moment you read this sentence. From that point on the rich would be modifying their children to be “cream of the crop”. At the same time the poor and most of the middle-class would be giving birth to unmodified children. The modified would be given two extreme advantages: they would be born into a financially stable family and have enormous genetic advantages. The future would see the rise of the eugenics population and the further decline of the naturally born. The cycle would continue infinitely as the eugenics population gained more money and the naturally born struggled to find jobs.
Why do people dislike school, their job, and sometimes their parents? Because, people do not like to be told or ordered to do things. So why should we be given the right to decide what our child is going to look like or what special features they are going to be given? It is morally wrong. In Gattaca there is a scene where a man plays a piano in front of a transfixed crowd. After his performance the pianist takes a bow and then tosses his gloves. The main character, Victor, catches a glove and finds it has six fingers. The pianist plays so well because he has six fingers. His parents decided he would play the piano before he was even born. In any other non-instrumental profession the man would have been an ostracized. Genetic engineering would turn into a way for parents to live their ideal life through their child. For example, if Mr. Jones wanted to play basketball but was turned away due to his lack in height, he could make his son tall so his son would turn into a basketball player.
Many more problems can result from genetically engineering a child. The development of eugenics will shake the foundation that all religions and this country were built on. Insurance and medical companies will collapse and the social gap will reach an extreme. “Once an intelligent life form reaches the stage we’re at now, it proceeds to destroy itself.”(Hawking,15)